Loyalist t-shirt sales spike after Co Armagh firm called ‘bigoted’

Some of the items produced by Porteedown Print
Some of the items produced by Porteedown Print

Sales at a Co Armagh t-shirt firm have rocketed after The Sun carried an article saying people had “slammed” the company for producing loyalist baby clothes.

The man behind Porteedown Print, Edward Carson, told the News Letter that sales had jumped by about 40% since Saturday, and the company cannot accept more work between now and the Twelfth because it is so busy.

On Friday The Scottish Sun carried an article beginning: “A clothes printing company has been slammed as ‘moronic’ after advertising baby T-shirts with loyalist slogans including ‘No Surrender’.”

It carried pictures of t-shirts the company sells, ranging from one of a cartoon baby holding a “no surrender” sign to a bib saying “Isabella’s first 12th of July”.

The article carried quotes from Nil By Mouth (which calls itself Scotland’s leading anti-sectarian charity) branding the clothes “bigoted”, “moronic” and “pathetic”. It also quoted people on Twitter condemning the items, too.

Mr Carson said the same article then appeared in the Northern Irish edition of The Sun on Saturday.

Since then, he said the orders have been “flying in” for his firm, which he only started a few months ago and which he operates from a shed next to his house in Portadown along with his fiancee.

The 40-year-old father of one (who is in the Orange Order, Royal Black Preceptory, and Apprentice Boys) runs his company using two web pages – one for general print merchandise called Porteedown Print, and another called We Are Tee People which sells unionist and Rangers items.

He said that characterising his products as offensive was “really scraping the barrel”.

He said: “Fair enough, if there was a t-shirt for a child that had on it a link to a paramilitary organisation for example, you could say yes, fair enough, absolutely – I’d be the first to condemn that. Absolutely. Obviously.

“But a t-shirt saying ‘My First Twelfth’... it’s a bit extreme to say it’s offensive to anybody.”

He also said Porteedown Print has printed St Patrick’s Day t-shirts for Catholic customers before, and also noted that it is possible to find “dodgy t-shirts” online on other websites which celebrate violent republicans.

He feels that, if it were another community or tradition other than Ulster Protestant unionism which was being promoted in the same way, it would “definitely not” have faced the same kind of criticism.